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Photo: “Turkish Coast Guard“, by Guillaume Piolle licensed under CC BY 3.0. Hue modified from the original

Taş, Hakkı. “The formulation and implementation of populist foreign policy: Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.” Mediterranean Politics (2020): 1-25.


Although populism does not dictate a coherent ideological or programmatic agenda, some of its elements still leave distinct marks on the formulation and implementation of foreign policy. This paper argues for the study of populism in its tangible policy impacts and scrutinizes the nexus of populism and foreign policy in contemporary Turkey under President Erdoğan’s rule. Despite the abundant references to the ‘people’ in the populist rhetoric, it identifies personalization in foreign policy decision-making, nationalization in foreign policy implementation, and civilizationalization in the foreign policy discourse. Having established the patterns of populist foreign policy from a wider reading, this study then examines, generally, how populism has informed Turkish foreign policy and, specifically, Turkey’s approach to the recent border disputes over the gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.